2017 Subaru Levorg dumps manual gearbox to attract female buyers

Subaru Levorg

SUBARU has ruled out ever adding a manual gearbox for its WRX-engined Levorg station wagon, saying the need to attract female buyers has priority over the desire to build a driver’s car with a bigger boot.                                                                        

Hiep Bui, an engineer at Subaru Australia who helped to tune the three-model line-up’s suspension to suit Australia’s unique road conditions, said a manual gearbox was never an option for the car, which will sell here only with a CVT. The sedan-based Subaru Impreza WRX, which shares its engine with the Levorg, has the choice of either the CVT or a six-speed manual gearbox. 

“This car [Subaru Levorg] is the right car for the Australian market,” Bui said. “It suits the family male, who wants the feeling of a big car to drive, and also the family wife who wants to drive a smaller car, so the Levorg is a good compromise that fits right in. 

“The WRX has attracted female buyers because it has a CVT,” he said. “For us, a male wants to drive the car, wants it to handle, they want to push it to its limit, which suits a manual. 

Subaru -Levorg -cars“Women just want to feel power delivery at their feet, which a CVT is good at doing. This is why we don’t have a manual [for Levorg].” 

Asked if the Levorg could one day come with a manual option, Bui said he didn’t think it would. 

“The number of [potential] sales are not there to justify it,” he said. “The [Subaru] Liberty is all CVT, and that hasn’t got a manual option. 

“There’s also the government regulations. The laws don’t make it easier to get a manual licence – you need to sit a different test for your P-plates if you want to drive a manual – and that’s a lot of deterrence [in the showroom].” 

The CVT, along with the Levorg’s 128kW/tonne power-to-weight ratio for the entry-level $42,990 2.0GT and 124kW/tonne for the $48,890 2.0GT-S and $52,890 2.0GT-S Spec B also make it more P-plate friendly, another important factor for a family car, Bui said. 

Subaru -Levorg -boot“We had an emphasis on meeting P-plate restrictions with the Levorg,” he said. “A P-plater can drive a car that does 6.6 seconds for the 0-100km/h. As a family car, we had to make sure the Levorg can cover all the bases.” 

Bui said because it was a station wagon, owners would treat the Levorg very differently to a sedan-based WRX. 

“We expect buyers to tow with the Levorg,” he said. “This is a wagon version, so many people will put their stuff in the back and hook up a trailer.” 

The Levorg’s electronic stability control had been specially tuned to take towing into account after the engineering team found themselves forgetting there was a trailer on the back, and entering corners too quickly. 

The Levorg is rated to tow 1200kg.

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DISCUSSION

9 Comments
  • Subaru, you're running out of lame excuses for not offering a manual option, and Aussie consumers are running out of patience with you! Listen to consumers or expect a downturn in sales.
  • its typical as most women cant drive manual.
  • This would have been the perfect car for me but for the transmission. Whilst I understand that some folks like automatic cars, there are still people out there that want manuals. Have loved my previous Subarus because they were cars that I could really engage with. Now we have boring appliances. "All for the driver"? Nothing could be further from the truth.
  • Wife & I have 3 manual cars & enjoy them all. Adult son, who doesn't mind autos (real ones), has a manual as a primary car. Because of the traffic kms our adult daughter used to drive for her work, I once suggested that she buy an auto. Her response: "Dad, I like driving" As we're going to sell 2 of our current cars later this year, the Levorg package of size & performance was added to our list for consideration as we thought it would be offered as a manual as well as CVT. But, based on what various motoring scribblers have had to say about CVTs & lack of a manual, it's now off our list.
  • So Women can't drive sports cars? That's pretty sexist. Why does some out-of-touch engineer get to decide what Women like? Also what sort of parent is going to let their 18 year old loose in a high-powered turbo car? Seriously? Subaru has lost their way. This car had so much potential, I was hoping it could fill the spot in the garage my old Spec-B Liberty left behind. Sadly not.
  • Why are P Plate issues driving the configuration of a so called performance car? It's a weak argument for not having a manual gearbox. Kind of reminds me of Subaru's 1990's excuse for not having a cruise control in the Forrester GT.
  • Well you just lost us as possible customers, my wife hates CVTs with a passion, prefers manuals over autos but will accept a modern high-tech one if she has to, a CVT just doesn't rate in her book.
  • Have you even asked a woman???? Stupidest thing I've heard. I bought an Impreza from Subaru 12 months ago and the main selling feature was MANUAL when so many other cars didn't have a good range of manual model choices. I thought the Levorg was an interesting car ... until now. #subarufail
  • What!!! I am female and most definitely want a MANUAL!!!! I am buying one despite the CVT not because of it